I will be the first to admit…a few months ago I did not really “get” Twitter. What was that crazy feed of posts and who were all these people posting? What was with the “#’s” all over the place and why were people so comfortable with the outrageous statement? It all seemed totally crazy to me.
Then, I got hooked. Hooked on the chance to cross all social and geopolitical boundaries to find people with like interests — like the thousands who adore “#CapeCod” many of whom might visit just once, or come only once a year. Hooked on the connections I made with real Cape Codders, twitter moms, foodies, locavores and news junkies who were living their lives in quiet obscurity just like me.
Last month, I decided to cross an invisible boundary and organize a tweetup. A tweetup is an opportunity for people on Twitter to meet each other face-to-face, to turn anonymous social media relationships into real friendships. Since Twitter is populated with early adopters, many of whom (like me!) live for social connections with others, the opportunity to deepen that relationship by putting a face to the funny series of 140 character tweets that you have come to admire is enticing. Add free lobster crostini at Quicks Hole on the first warm Friday in spring, intriguing. Silver Still (fabulous local folk duo) playing on the water-view deck with no cover? Sold!
I will admit that I fretted — will anyone come? I tweeted and tweeted like a veritable red breasted robin in springtime in hopes of getting the word out. I re-tweeted the clever posts of my new found #capecod friends. I created a hashtag to mark my tweets, #wohotweetup, and entered a dialogue with several other twitterers who were committed to coming to the event. I got name tags at Staples, checked on the lobster crostini, double checked the free wifi in the restaurant and then I waited for the party to start.
What a pleasant surprise awaited me. Tweeps from Hyannis mingling with Twerps from Martha’s Vineyard as the sun set over Woods Hole harbor and the Cape Cod draft beer flowed from the tap in pitchers… Incredible. See, despite all the people who pass through here, Woods Hole is not thought of by Cape Codders as a destination. I mean, for people to drive from Centerville or take the ferry back from Martha’s Vineyard for a pitcher of beer and a great sunset…well it is unusual because each of those places has its own incredible decks from which you can enjoy the very same sunset.
There were some highlights. I met Paula @CapeProducer who organizes the annual “Geek Girl Camp” and recently did a great job re-launching the Falmouth Bed and Breakfast Association website. I met Todd and Beth Marcus (@CapeCodBeer), Alecia Lebeda (@AleciaLebeda) the mind behind the magic of FCTV, Jason Peringer, the sassiest massage therapist on Martha’s Vineyard (@MVmassage) and Mike Nunez (@mike_nunez) a cool guy who commutes onto MV.
Tweetup conversation can get a little technical and ahh, OK… geeky. Mike and Alicia had a long conversation about bar code scanners and then mixed it up a little as they compete against each other as the “Mayor” of the Bourne Bridge on FourSquare. These are advanced topics. If you don’t know what I am talking about, don’t worry, you will soon enough. I am just glad I got to be there to witness all the fun. Thanks to the crew at Quicks Hole for making it happen and giving us such a great spot to hang out. Comments below encouraged — if you give me your twitter name you will get a personal invitation from me for the next one… And if you are coming to the Woods Hole Inn on a Friday afternoon, look forward to more hangouts at Quicks Hole all summer long.
What is it about actors that captures your imagination and makes you want to know more about them? You look at Sam Waterston’s familiar face and you think — is he like that guy he played on “Law and Order”? Is he funny? Is he smart? Does he really know how to write a great closing argument?
Well, if you had been in Woods Hole last weekend, you would have discovered the answer to these questions and much more. In collaboration with the Woods Hole Film Festival and the Woods Hole Inn, actors gathered here for a weekend of learning about the craft and the trade of acting professionally. Caroline Pickman, of CP Casting gave a two hour presentation on the expectations of the audition process, including getting the actors up on their feet to try out some of her audition material (known as “sides” in the business) from a Showtime television series. And Beth Colt presented a session on working with agents and managers, what to expect and how to engage the professionals who are the gatekeepers to a good career in acting.
But by far the highlight was our time with Sam Waterston. In the interest of full disclosure, let me explain that Sam and I worked together about a decade ago. Our company was called Stardance Productions and we developed many projects and made one wonderful movie together (called “A House Divided” starring Sam, Jennifer Beals, Tim Daly and Lisa Gay Hamilton for Showtime). So I know Sam well, and am reasonably well-equipped to ask him interesting questions.
We started with how his career got started (Yale undergrad, summer stock and then cast in the play “Oh Dad, Poor Dad…”). I asked him if he ever had a day job and he told a delightful story about working at Macy’s back when they sold bundles of theatre tickets. Like all of Sam’s stories, this was a self-depricating tale that ends with his firing for insubordination to a customer. It was hilarious. He told us about booking “The Killing Fields” (for which he was later nominated for an Academy Award) and his transition to television in the NBC series “I’ll Fly Away.” He shared tidbits about Roland Joffe, and many of the other notables he has worked with (Woody Allen, Jeff Bridges and more).
Sam’s general advice for the young actors in the room was not to pursue acting unless you have to, as he put it, “Only if there is nothing else you can do.” The demands of the profession are so bruising he told them, it leaves it’s mark on you. But he also advised, “You have to play in traffic if you want to get hit.”
Woods Hole is more than established as an international epicenter for the life sciences and oceanography, so it is a pleasure to see the reputation of this little village extend itself into the national arts scene.
We are playing in traffic here, and we intend to keep playing until we get hit:)
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At the Woods Hole Inn, we often spend a lot of time on the “table” part of farm-to-table but today I got to head out into the field and see one of the farms that we source food from in the summer.
Coonamessett Farm was founded over 30 years ago by Ron Smolovitz, who along with his wife had a passion to save a piece of open land slated for development. On their 2o plus acres, Ron farms everything from lettuce to turkey. His rolling meadows with their vineyards and neat rows of lettuce, tomato, zucchini and summer squash are quite the summer destination for everything from weddings to the passionate members of his CSA.
Spring is the time to visit if you want to see where all that bounty comes from, so I headed over there yesterday in the pouring rain with a list of the produce we consume weekly to supply our breakfast kitchen and Quicks Hole — for example, 50 lbs of fresh tomatoes a week to make our signature pico de gallo fresh daily! Try over 20 dozen eggs a week for the Woods Hole Inn’s fresh baked breakfasts? Yeah, it all adds up.
It was pouring anew when Ron and I zipped into his rain covered golf cart and sped across the meadow to the growing cluster of greenhouses. Ron put in a windmill a few years back and he explained that running the farm vehicles on electricity rather than gas helps keep down the price of vegetables.
We met with Stan Ingram, field boss at Coonamessett, who was literally ankle deep in mud transplanting rows of baby plants to larger containers (those are his amazing hands in the photo above). The long low plastic roof of the greenhouse cast the most gorgeous diffused light and the drum of rain on the roof was soporific. A lovely tiger cat leapt to greet me with a deep purr. What a peaceful place, I thought. “Earlier today when it was really coming down, we could not have held a conversation in here,” Stan remarked with a wry smile.
We talked about when they expect certain crops to come in, why they can’t grow tomatoes earlier (heating the greenhouses to 55 degrees costs too much money) and the logistics of getting relatively small batches of produce down to Woods Hole two or three times per week. Their crispy arugula is essential for our “Wicked Fresh” salad — a best seller at Quicks Hole — but at the end of the day, it’s all about logistics. Stan offered to plant more basil and cilantro to meet our weekly demand. He also cautioned me against holding him to any dates. I guess the plants mature when they feel like it, not just for our Quicks Hole opening day (which is May 6th this year, by the way).
Another exciting development is the local cultivation of oysters which Ron is going to distribute. I signed Quicks Hole up for weekly delivery of the new “Sippewissett” which is out in Buzzards Bay fattening up right now from the cold winter. Ron says the first of them will be ready by mid May. Yum.
I left with a list of wholesale prices, an order form… and a greater sense of purpose. It’s not easier to source this way, actually it’s much, much harder. But the sense of satisfaction in knowing my little business can be a part of keeping this meadow open for Ron and his golf cart? Yeah, that feels good.
Hopefully it tastes good too. Come check it out this summer at Quicks Hole, 6 Luscombe Ave in Woods Hole. More info and our menu at www.quicksholewickedfresh.com.
Fifteen writers gathered in Woods Hole last weekend (Feb 4-6, 2011) for a symposium on writing for television lead by P.K. Simonds (“Ghost Whisperer” and “Party of Five”) and Laurie McCarthy (“CSI,” “Ghost Whisperer” and “Windfall.”) The group gathered Friday night at the Woods Hole Inn for wine and cheese, introductions and ice breaking as the sun set over Woods Hole’s Great Harbor.
The next morning, the writers gathered in the Quicks Hole restaurant while Laurie and P.K. presented their take on the current TV business, everything from the recent writers strike, to the pressures of show-running, to how to handle network notes. The information-packed morning and afternoon sessions were broken up by a break for lunch. In the evening, most of the crew headed to the Captain Kidd for “Dinner and a Movie” led by Judy Laster of the Woods Hole Film Festival.
The series, a joint partnership of the Woods Hole Film Festival and the Woods Hole Inn, continued on Sunday with a final session focusing on how to break into the business. With plenty of time for Q&A from the experienced writers, most of the participants spoke of feeling jazzed about the process, and said they were energized to go home and keep writing. See their actual comments here.
Enjoy the photo essay of a weekend of good conversations, insightful questions and continuing learning about the nexus of art and commerce in the loveliest little village on Cape Cod:
So I keep hearing about this Chilifest thing, like “Ooh, you are living here now? You HAVE to go to Chilifest…” and I am like, what is Chilifest? Well, as I learned last weekend, the Martha’s Vineyard Chilifest is an INSTITUTION. And it’s a whole lot of fun, so let me take you on my little initiation journey.
It all started days before actually, when we began testing chili recipes and trying on costumes. We settled on “Fire in the Hole” – a spicy braised short rib chili with a hint of Mexican chocolate. Steph really knocked herself out on this one and after a few sample batches I agreed, this is the one! We cooked and prepped all Thursday and Friday — smoking fresh peppers and chilis in our outdoor grill, shaving Mexican chocolate, braising an enormous pile of short ribs.
I braved snow and ice to drive to the Costume Company in Arlington (thank you Jeannie!) to rent a huge pile of Revolutionary War costumes — Fire in the Hole, like Woods Hole, get it? I lived at Staples printing banners, menus, handouts. I hired an actress to help hand them out. Yes, I am really committed to making this a big event for Quicks Hole, our groovy casual farm-to-table taco stand on the ground floor of the Woods Hole Inn.
Finally, the actual day dawned and I was up early walking from my house in the village to the Inn. The light in the early morning in Woods Hole was so stunning (I’m not out of my house this early usually!) that I wore my camera around my neck and snapped a few pictures:
Guests of the Woods Hole Inn were happily dining in the front room and I dashed through the office to grab costumes, menus, signs and more. Steph and Jay lugged gallons of cold chili in covered buckets across the street to the ferry. Amy and I followed shortly thereafter. The ferry was so packed with people, they asked 45 people to get off! Volunteers, they said. No one budged. The girl next to me snickered — she had just poured four shots of peppermint schnapps into her Dunkin Donuts extra large. She was NOT getting off and neither were we.
Once we arrived at the vast tent at the Portugese American Club, we warmed up and tried a few of the other chilis — there were 40 contestants there and more than 2000 tasters. The Corona beer was flowing freely, plenty of limes, and a great Jimmy Buffet style band was playing all your island favorites.
The place was packed by noon and we handed out a ton of our Chili to consistently good feedback. The security guy standing next to our table was moonlighting from his day job as a warden in the MV jail. He kept noticing people who had come into the jail drunk and disorderly — not a bad guy, he would say, but let’s just say We Know Him Well.
Well, we lined right up and passed out thousands of little cups of our chili. The Chilifest is a fundraiser for the Red Stocking Fund, a really great island charity. WMVY the local radio station supports it, helps judge and sells all the tickets with their promotions. We met a bunch of the DJs and so many other locals, it was really cool. Here we are as we got ready to serve the crowd:
There were regular people, drunk people, people in outrageous costumes, TV personalities, official tasters from WMVY, lots of our friends and business associates from Woods Hole and so, so much more. A picture is worth 1,000 words so here is the rest of the day in photos:
In the end, all ten gallons of our chili was handed out with a smile. We won nothing more than the joy of spending the day on Martha’s Vineyard listening to good music and laughing with new friends. We were tired, oh so very tired, but it was worth it! A great day. See you all there next year — 364 days and counting.
Summer in Woods Hole. Long evenings where the light lingers past 9 p.m. Steady ocean breeze from the Southwest. Cocktails on the stern of a wooden boat in seersucker suits and floppy hats. That’s what it looked like to me from the glossy magazines.
In my 22 years of relentless travel, somehow I had never made it to this corner of the world. I’m from Texas and like to explore with not much more than a backpack, a Lonely Planet guide and my Nikon D80.
Needless to say, I jumped at an offer to come to Woods Hole for the summer and explore. They told me they needed “marketing advice” which is fine since I just earned a BA in PR and journalism. But what I really came for is the chance to do a little more urban archeology: What makes this place tick? Why do people return here year after year? What is the real Cape Cod?
In my first week I spent a majority of my time wandered the village of Woods Hole. Two words: absolutely stunning. There’s a surplus of great seafood just waiting for a dash of cocktail sauce. The people are so unbelievably friendly— I certainly have made a friend for life with one of the locals who grew up North of here in Chatham.
My favorite thing to do so far is to borrow a bike and head down to Stoney Beach for some amazing sun set shots. Nothing makes me happier than to feel the weight of my camera in my left hand as the shutter closes in and out. In a blink of a second, I’ve got it— a moment that I will remember forever.
Even though Woods Hole is technically a village, there certainly isn’t anything sleepy about it. The nightlife is great. There’s awesome live music almost every night and tons of people to meet, even out on the streets. The ferry horns sometimes get me right up at 7 a.m., but I certainly don’t mind. It just means I start my day with a swim and a bike ride. There’s just nothing like that.
I may only be here for six weeks, but I look forward to sharing my perspective with you.
There’s no better way to spend a bridal weekend than at The Woods Hole Inn! Last weekend we had brides galore preparing and honeymooning with us. It felt like a scene out of “Philadelphia Story” with boxes full of beautiful hydrangea and lilies bouquets delivered to our front desk.
Surrounded with smiling friends and family, several bottles of hairspray and two very busy makeup artists, the bride in Room 5 glowed as her mother whispered “Good luck.” We were lucky to get a few snapshots while she was getting ready. I loved the peek-a-boo through one of our vintage screens.
We also had a honeymooning couple who celebrated all evening and collapsed here for their first night as Mr. and Mrs. They enjoyed Sara’s French toast bread pudding, strawberries, blueberries and several cups of strong coffee in the morning. Good luck and come back next year!
What a fun weekend to have celebrating guests occupying almost every room. We love hosting wedding parties here at the inn and cannot wait for our next batch of brides to roll in! (…Like tomorrow!)
Just like producing a movie, at the Woods Hole Inn we are crafting great vacations, one customer at a time. Every movie begins with a great script and the Woods Hole Inn is no different — our script calls for us to make you feel pampered and welcome the minute you walk in the door.
I started my career in Hollywood, managing a group of actors and producing a few movies. I don’t want to make my career sound too glamorous because it wasn’t — thousands of people like me toil behind the scenes as part of the grist that turns the Hollywood mill. But I did learn a thing or two about star treatment that I use everyday in running the Woods Hole Inn.
I like to welcome guests the way I would welcome the star of my film onto set the first day — smiles, warmth and plenty of free bottled water. I like to clean the rooms imagining that Oprah and her entourage might walk in later tonight. I like to train staff to show off their knowledge of the local scene as if they were job interviewing for locations manager on “Jaws.” I hope breakfast comes out feeling “Like Water for Chocolate” and your pillow top reminds you of James Bond.
These are hard things to achieve and we don’t always get there. Has there been a bad day when the electrician made a mess right before check-in, the phone rang too many times to answer and a guest waited at the front desk feeling more like Rita Wilson than Tom Hanks? Yes. Now you know why Bruce Willis throws temper tantrums in his trailer when the coffee is cold — even on a movie set with a staff of hundreds, mistakes happen. So we apologize and try again. Most of our customers are much, much more amenable than Bruce (visit the inn and I’ll share a few hair curlers for you).
In any case, nothing makes us happier than getting it right and I want to quote an email we received last night, because I think we succeeded in making this couple feel like Brangelina:
“My wife and I just finished a three day stay at the Inn and I can’t stop talking about it to anyone who will listen. From the second we walked through the door at 28 Water Street the warmth we were greeted by, yourself and the Inn, captured our hearts forever. I cannot say enough about the cleanliness of the room and the efficiency of the staff.
We have stayed in Woods Hole before, but by far the location of the Inn is far more noteworthy than any other places we have stayed. We found it a complete luxury to drop our car off with the valet and not have to think about getting around for the rest of our stay. The area restaurants and attractions all within walking distances on the scenic main strip of Woods Hole, as well as Quicks Hole located in the same building. Talk about convenience. Not to mention the activities you planned and executed for us (ferry tickets waiting for us, wine chilled in our room, walking tour of Woods Hole, massages at Bellezza Day Spa) all completely flawless in their delivery. The things you said were going to be done, were done.
How can I write our happiness with the Inn with out mentioning Sara the Breakfast Queen. I can’t express to you enough what a pleasure it was to wake up at our leisure, walk down the hall, open the breakfast room door to find the smell of freshly brewed coffee, homemade breakfast treats, and Sara’s smiling face. To say the breakfast she prepared for us each morning was delicious would be an insult. The word just doesn’t do enough credit to her skill. We especially liked the Linguiça and Asparagus bread pudding. I can still taste its’ warm flavorful goodness.
We have spent the last few days figuring out excuses for us to return to the Inn and believe us it’s not hard, if we could come every weekend we would! Again, Thank You for all of the wonderful memories we were able to take with us in celebrating our 5th year of marriage. We hope to see you soon!” — guest from Worcester, Mass.
I feel like Sally Field’s did in her famous Oscar speech — “You like me, you really like me!” We live for this kind of feedback, and I am grateful to my tremendous staff for another star turn.
And when Brad and Angelina actually arrive? We are ready for you.
Parking in Woods Hole is challenging.
Beautiful place, no parking spaces. The love of bicycle riding in Falmouth rose out of the desire to get to Woods Hole without a car. They built a dedicated bike path for God’s sake, just to help people get to Woods Hole sans vehicle. Honestly, it’s easier to park a passenger ferry here than find a nook for your Mini Cooper.
Check into the Woods Hole Inn and a FREE parking space is yours for the duration of your stay. I know that sounds weird, because most hotels include free parking — duh. But you need to come to Woods Hole to appreciate the importance of that statement.
Free parking. In Woods Hole!
Check it out.
At the Woods Hole Inn, we maintain what we call a “doily free zone.” You know those musty old Victorians filled with the stuff you see at the flea market and wonder who buys? The little pink teacups and the figurines and the old cigar boxes filled with rubber band collections. Yeah, I hate all that clutter.
So, my husband and I bought this place last year and ran around renovating it with our funky sensibility. We grew up on the East Coast but we have been living in LA for twenty years or so now. And we have come to love mid-century modern, and Sasha Emerson, and Dwell, and the Rose Bowl and all that is hip, cool and clean about LA.
But we also miss that grounded feeling we get when we come home to Cape Cod. Wooden shingles, ancient hand crank laundry machines, ice cream made in small batches. And that zen, in-the-moment, alive feeling that seems to come up from the ground. Or floats in on the salt breeze. Or follows you around like a hungry gull on a moonlit night in October.
So here we are, proud owners of a retro meets modern inn. A place committed to being warm but not too friendly, far away from everything and in the middle of it all, urban and rural, big and small, vintage and new.
Check it out at www.woodsholeinn.com. And let us know how we are doing. Cause whats the fun if we can’t talk about it…
The Woods Hole Inn is on the water in Woods Hole, MA, across from the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. The Inn was built in 1878 and made modern in 2008.
Inn rooms feature modern decor, with a winning combination of old and new featured in magazines like Domino and Dwell.
Inn amenities include free wifi, parking, ipod docking stations, Brookstone sound machines, fresh hot popovers from Pie in the Sky as part of a Real Simple continental breakfast.
This is NOT your Granny’s B & B.
At the Woods Hole Inn, we stay GREEN by the deep BLUE sea.
How do we do it? Let me count the ways:
We recycle. We re-use. We use low VOC paints even though they cost a fortune. We never print on paper what we can file electronically. We offer discounts to customers who come by bus. We keep the heat turned down and do not use AC, ever! We turn lights and fans off when we can. We ask guests to participate with us by re-using towels and sheets when they can. We supply eco-chic toilet paper even when guests sometimes beg for evil-Charmin.
What do we hope to do? Add solar panels. Build a roof garden for herbs and natural insulation. Finish insulating the building. Find a local farm to take our compost. Build a chicken coop and serve eggs made from our own hens. Plant a garden to keep it super locavore. Live on the 100 mile diet.
Any other good ideas for me?
Memento Vivere…Remember to Live.
“Memento Vivere” was tattooed on the arm of a friend who died unexpectedly last month. Like he was trying to send a posthumous message to the rest of us… And so it was I embraced the carpe diem of it all and wandered off the beaten path this week in Woods Hole.
Ahh, the fall weather on Cape Cod is so unbelievably sweet. I walked in the full moonlight around on Harbor Hill Road and back into town at School Street. It was about 10 pm on a quiet Monday night and once I was on Harbor Hill I did not see a person or a car until a got back into town. The crickets were singing to me, moonlight filtered through the leaves and a soft warm breeze followed. Magical, zen, very in the moment.
Jon Kabat-Zinn lives in Woods Hole, with his family, and if you have read any of his books (“Full Catastrophe Living” or “Wherever You Go, There You Are”) you will recognize the splendor in a moment like that one.
So I share a few fall photos of Woods Hole. This is from the Great Harbor where the ferries pass daily to the Vineyard, looking back across the water at our little town. Windy day, but not cold yet.
The Woods Hole Passage, they call it, and it is one of the most treacherous crossings on the eastern seaboard — currents of 4-5 knots pull industrial sized buoys sideways at peak tides and the narrow channel is peppered with rocks the size of small islands. A boat a day goes on the rocks here in the summer and there is a Coast Guard station around the corner to service all the rescues needed. Through these waters pass huge yachts, old wooden racing boats called “Twelve Footers” and “Knockabouts,” Hinckley picnic boats daytripping to Quicks Hole and fishing boats of all shapes and sizes following the striped bass and bluefish.
And this is Hadley Harbor in the off season. A short boat ride from Woods Hole, through the Woods Hole Passage, any local charter fisherman can take you there. Empty and undeveloped, it is one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Fall is in the air, and the leaves are threatening to turn. Walking the beaches near Woods Hole, stunning vistas to Martha’s Vineyard as the light settles down. Maybe the phosphorescence will glimmer mysteriously in the tides. For sure, the harvest moon of the Wampanoags will fill the sky with her iridescent glamor and whisper into the souls of hardened Cape Codders about the summers to come. Winter may be around the corner, but summer will always return.
Somehow in the course of my life, I have been privileged to come to know many of the genius writers that bring the hit FOX series “The Simpsons” to life week after week.
And if you like “The Simpsons” then you know that the show is filled with erudite, cutting edge references to people, places and things all over the planet. The writers of such a show must be very very smart indeed. Smart enough to know that Woods Hole makes a great vacation!
So it is with some pride that I name-drop two of the very best writers from the show who came to visit us in Woods Hole this summer — Ian Maxtone-Graham and Mike Reiss. Ian came in early August and held a cool seminar in Quicks Hole as part of the Woods Hole Film Festival. The Boston Globe wrote a very funny article about it which you can read here:
Mike and his lovely wife Denise came late in the summer and stayed for lobster salads at Quicks Hole. They live in NYC now and commute to LA for Mike to bring his unique genius to the show one day a week. Mike is also known for his great kids books, and a wonderful lecture he gives about writing on the longest running TV comedy.
We are honored to host writing luminaries at the Woods Hole Inn. Any other Simpsons writers who would like to come check it out are welcome to call for a reservation — I’ll give you the Mike Reiss discount (everyone knows he and Denise are all about value:)
So, I guess I am not the only one who thinks the academic buildings of Woods Hole make the whole place feel a little like Cambridge on Cape Cod. And frankly, since I often refer to Cambridge as “utopia,” when you mix utopia with great beaches and the positive ions of the ocean air, I guess you get…um… nirvana?
Harvard professor Louis Agassiz was an important force in the development of the Marine Biological Laboratory back in the 1880s. And along with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, there have been countless Harvard grads living and working here for the last 125 years. The MBL is billed as the oldest private laboratory in the country and it is famous for serendipitious scientific encounters such as the meeting of Franklin Stahl and Matthew Messelsen which resulted in the first replications of DNA. And lots of other cool stuff like that including all the research for Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”
There are two or three Nobel prize winners living right in this little fishing village. So if you are into science, walking around here is like being on the red carpet at the science Academy Awards: “Look, there’s Brad Pitt, err … I mean Osamu Shimomura. He’s married to Angelina Jolie, I mean … He won the Nobel for harnessing the natural power of luminescence found in jellyfish.”
Follow this link to the journalist who claims, “I like to think of Woods Hole, in Falmouth, as the Harvard Square of Cape Cod.” She has a number of nice photos there too.
But remember, the “nirvana” you may experience with those positive ions, the great beaches and our wonderful ocean views is not really science. To me, it’s more like art.
One of the finest parts of life in Woods Hole is the warm water swimming. And Nobska Beach is the very best beach in my humble opinion. Cape Cod gets the gulf stream, so the water is really lovely in the summer. And the fall.
I walked to Nobska one memorable morning. You head up the hill from the village of Woods Hole, past Little Harbor where the Coast Guard are stationed. You take a right on Church Street which must be named for the adorable stone church on the left. It was cool under the tree canopy, and the early morning light filtered through the trees and danced on the grassy curb. A few cars whizzed by me, and I smiled at the steady stream of runners and bikers (this being the path of the famous Falmouth Road Race its a popular and scenic run/bike).
Down the hill a little and then the beach emerged, the ancient light house standing guard. A small row of bath houses stands guard, for locals who like to change before swimming I guess. A woman was out in a chair early, reading a book but other than that the beach was empty. I saw the ferries headed across the Sound and the air was so clear it felt like you could reach out and touch the Vineyard.
I was particularly taken with the clarity of the water, swirling the rocks and gently lapping the beach sand. I took the picture above; it seemed to call out to me.
Try this walk some morning. You will not be disappointed.
Woods Hole is filled with marine biologists, wooden boat builders and fisherman. If you ask a Woods Hole local, most will tell you that they do not own a TV. The movie theater is at least a half hour from here and dvd rentals are slow at the “Coffee O.” Woods Hole is a place where pop culture is not much of a priority.
So when Steve Carell and his family drop in for a lobster taco at Quicks Hole restaurant, NOBODY RECOGNIZES HIM! That’s right, it’s seems most Woods Holies have never seen “The Office” or “The 40 Year Old Virgin” or “Little Miss Sunshine.” So, Steve just wanders around, orders what he likes, sits and enjoys a cold brew — whateva. No paparazzi, no autograph seekers, no lookie-loos.
Little known fact about most celebrities — they like being ignored. It’s a break from their public lives. Add to that the chance to nosh great local fare and boat in some of the world’s best waters and you have catnip for the fabulous and famous. Steve and entourage wandered across Vineyard Sound from their family compound near Tashmoo, swam on a sandbar, toured Woods Hole Harbor and ate at Quicks Hole.
It was a fabulous and famous Woods Hole day.
You won’t see a parade like this one anywhere else on the planet.
On the Fourth of July, the citizens of Woods Hole line Water Street to watch one of the more unusual parades I have ever seen. The marine biological labs empty out and students dress as single cell amoeba, dance like algae and wear crustacean costumes to ring in our nation’s birthday. Its a fabulous amalgamation of science and patriotism and I can’t imagine a better spot to enjoy this important holiday.
On the porch of the Woods Hole Inn, we offer free lemonade, ice tea, cookies and a great view of the festivities. Our guests mingle with locals as festive floats and scads of graduate students dance and laugh their way from School Street across the drawbridge. Kids and their parents line the streets and enjoy the antics. After the parade, the shops and restaurants are filled with hungry revelers eager to get a nice lobster taco, ahi tuna burrito or cold draft beer by the waterfront. This year was one of the first great days of the summer weather-wise, so it felt especially festive and crowded. Hot in the sun, the steady southwest breeze off of Vineyard Sound kept everyone cool.
We open the inn up on the Fourth and give tours. This year a grande dame from Juniper Point came in to look around and see if we were “up to snuff” (as my own grande dame of a grandmother used to say) for later in the summer when her large house by the water would be packed to the last maids room and she might need some overflow space. I toured her through the renovated property and in her own quiet and WASPY way she seemed impressed. She had that wonderful lockjaw that distinguishes the generation that grew up listening to Katherine Hepburn and living in the world chronicled by movies like “Philadelphia Story.” She told me she was 84 years old, she had been coming to Woods Hole her entire life and she had never before set foot in the Woods Hole Inn. “We always thought it was a house of prostitution!” she exclaimed. Well, I said, who knows, maybe it was?
But it’s not anymore, and next year when you are scratching your head about what unique way to spend the Fourth, consider the Woods Hole Inn. We may not have any “ladies of the evening,” but we promise to show you a good time:)
Lobster Tacos are a sublime idea. Cold succulent lobster lightly dressed. Fresh cut red cabbage, a touch of lime on a hot corn taco?? Incredible.
New to Woods Hole this summer, the lobster taco is an inspired fusion of traditional Cape Cod with a dash of innovation from the surf shacks of Baha California.
Don’t miss this treat, and much more at the all new Quicks Hole restaurant. Its on the ground floor of the Woods Hole Inn, right next to the t-shirt shop and facing the Martha’s Vineyard ferry hides the hottest new joint in town. Word is leaking out about this place, and while it opens at 10 for lunch there is often a line of impatient ferry-goers at the door, jonesing for their fix that will be bagged and consumed on the the ferry. What’s better than the upper deck of the “Island Home” with a lobster taco, a 360 degree view of the Sound and the gulls circling jealously overhead?
Also on the menu — amazing local salads served in a fried tortilla bowl, rare yellowfin tuna burritos, sweet potato fries, hot chips with fresh salsas, made-to-order quacamole…see where we are going here?
Woods Hole Inn guests get a discount at Quicks Hole at check in.
See you soon!
Come stay in Woods Hole and use the Whoosh to explore all the shops and restaurants on Main Street, Falmouth. I like the kids bookstore called “Eight Cousins” and the toy shop is pretty awesome too. I enjoy lunch at “Laureens” where the lamb kabob is off the hook. And you should not leave without trying one of Tammy’s “CupCapes” at the gourmet cupcake shop.
The other way works pretty well too — just hop the trolley at the Falmouth Mall (or anywhere along the route) and come down to WoHo for the fresh air, great views and fun shopping. I recommend the “Sweats” tshirt shop for great selection and bargains. Don’t leave Woods Hole without trying the lobster taco at Quick’s Hole. That plus a Cape Cod beer? Leave that car behind and enjoy the green benefits of great local transportation. Perfect!
The Whoosh Trolley starts running in late June and goes until early September. Don’t miss a ride this year.
Quicks Hole is open for the season with wicked fresh lobster rolls, burritos and tacos! Come in for a mouth-watering meal or to see the amazing new space hung with new paintings by Tally Forbes.
In addition, Quicks is now selling gourmet cupcakes made fresh daily from all organic materials by our friends at “CupCapes of Falmouth” on Main Street. The Red Velvet Sox with cream cheese frosting are not to be missed. And our coffee is roasted locally at “Pie in the Sky”
Stop by today and learn why people are saying this is the “hottest new joint in Woods Hole” — we are across the street from the ferry landing and at the end of the Shining Sea bike path on the ground floor of the famous Woods Hole Inn. 6 Luscombe Ave in Woods Hole. Menu and more at www.quicksholewickedfresh.com.
WOODS HOLE – by Patricia Borns for the BOSTON GLOBE
To understand this village in Falmouth, you have to think beyond the parking lots overflowing with ferry passengers bound for Martha’s Vineyard. Park at the Falmouth Mall, hop the WHOOSH trolley, and you can spend a day on beaches laced with salt ponds and pink rosa ragosa.
From its main drag Water Street to the channel between Penzance Point and Nonamesset Island for which it was named, Woods Hole is synonymous with ocean. You can smell it in the air, see it from almost every restaurant, appreciate it in the seascapes at Edie Bruce’s art gallery on School Street, and learn about it from some of the world’s premier marine research institutions, starting with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) and the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL).
You might start by admiring the new drawbridge on Water Street as it opens and closes on a pageant of boat traffic in and out of Eel Pond. Then, follow Woods Hole Road to Church Street where Nobska Point Light overlooks one of the best views on Cape Cod.
See white sails tacking toward the purple outline of Martha’s Vineyard on the Vineyard Sound chop, and the mostly Forbes family-owned Elizabeth Islands tapering to a southwest vanishing point facing Buzzards Bay. A day could start and end on this spot, as it often has for artist Doug Rugh, whose career began as an illustrator at the MBL, where his grandparents did research. Rugh and his wife, artist Hillary Osborne, have created an oeuvre of Woods Hole scenes. To locate these in physical reality, link to the Google map on their website, osbornandrughgallery.com.
Spread your blanket on Nobska Beach below the lighthouse on Church Street, or on Stoney Beach beside Gosnold Road, where “you can hear children calling the shells by their [scientific] names,” Rugh says. That’s because scientists by the hundreds flock to the Buzzards Bay-side beach during the season.
“I love the summer. It’s great to be around so many new and different people,” says Cliff Pontbriand, a junior engineer working on oceanographic instrumentation at WHOI. For a peek at the marine scientists’ inner sanctums, he suggests one of the WHOI or MBL tours. The WHOI tour includes a view of the institution’s dock where recently sub-sea robot Nereus was being tested before shipping out to the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of Earth’s oceans.
Along with a library of scientific journals dating from the 17th century, the MBL tour visits the Marine Resources Center on MBL Street, where Ed Enos presides over tanks filled with sea creatures used in research.
“What does this remind you of?” says Enos, handing around a mass of gelatinous, fingerlike squid eggs to some shy youngsters. “Gummy bears!” He likens a sea urchin to “mom’s pin cushion” and presses a finger to a toad fish’s soft abdomen so that it grunts “like a frog.”
Pontbriand suggests that if you want to experience what scientists do, get out on the water with OceanQuest. Located next to the WHOI docks on Great Harbor, OceanQuest’s 63-foot, three-station research vessel is the brainchild of Kathy Mullin, a math and science teacher who moved to Cape Cod with her husband but couldn’t find a teaching job. The 90-minute cruise starts on the bow, introducing the atmospheric and ocean dynamics that make our planet viable. There you’ll take a water sample, and in the cabin, analyze it under a scope. On the stern, you might trawl and handle crabs, lightning fish, or any of 200 species found in just a 10-mile radius.
“In the fall we even see trigger fish, usually found in the tropics. The confluence of currents gives Cape Cod waters incredible diversity,” Mullin says.
Science is present even in the spiritual quiet of the Garden of Our Lady, located on Millfield Street across from St. Joseph Church. Created by Frances Lillie, who came in 1894 to study at the MBL, the garden offers a bench where you can contemplate the messages inscribed on the bell tower (Lillie named the two bells for Roman Catholic scientists Gregor Mendel and Louis Pasteur) and the prolific flowers with names like Lady’s Slipper, Lady’s Mantle, and Madonna Lily invoking the Virgin Mary.
The 700,000 daffodils may have passed, but the rhododendrons will be blooming in Spohr Gardens, an out-of-the-way landscape off Oyster Pond Road that’s worth a painting or picnic in early June. Begun in the 1950s, the six-acre plot set on a still green pond was the passion of Margaret and Charles Spohr, who also collected the ships’ anchors, bells, and millstones on display.
You could wind down the day with a brew and burger at “the Kidd” (Captain Kidd Restaurant on Water Street) where wisps of theoretical discourse can be heard among the tourists’ din.
But if you like to bike, follow the Shining Sea Bikeway out Quissett Road to Quissett Harbor. New this year, the shore-hugging route, which many consider the sweetest on Cape Cod, has been extended from the Woods Hole Steamship Authority to County Road in North Falmouth, about 10 miles. Slightly north of Woods Hole proper, inner Quissett Harbor looks like a page from a children’s book: deep and glade-like, dotted with classic sloops. Around the shoreline, the buildings of the former Quissett Harbor Hotel and James Marshall estate, now a conference facility of the National Academy of Sciences, recall Quissett’s days as a 19th-century vacation spot.
A leafy trail shoots off to small beaches, and a narrow neck of land, the Knob, wraps its protective arm around the harbor. Here you can watch the sun set with a wide-open view to Buzzards Bay and the Elizabeth Islands.
While I was here, a boy splashed in the shallows with his parents. “Mom,” he said, “isn’t this the perfect place?”
Patricia Borns can be reached at email@example.com.